Young Mercer team members recognized in Germany and Canada for their contributions

Mercer’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiative has taken precedence in guiding our employee engagement and recruitment these past few years. While our current focus is to increase the recruitment and retention of women at all levels of the workplace, we remind ourselves that DE&I is intersectional and includes other facets – one of which is age.

‘With age comes wisdom’ is an adage we all know, but it would be an oversight to not recognize the younger generations in our workplaces. This summer reminded us of that, as we got to celebrate two of our young team members as award recipients. As we continue to witness their successes this fall, we want to share their achievements.

Marc Brehmer, Mercer Pulp Products – CIO Young Talent Award

Marc began his Mercer journey in the early stages of both the COVID-19 pandemic and Mercer’s transition to Google Workspace. Initially hired in a trainee role to assist Mercer Stendal’s Managing Director, it was clear that Marc’s business administration degree provided transferable skills to support this Google project. Within weeks of his start, Marc’s aptitude for business process and change management shifted his role to work more closely with the IT department, eventually joining the corporate team under Mercer Pulp Products as IT Project Manager, Digital Workplace & Collaboration.

“He’s really someone who’s, for me, exceptional,” says Christoph Grewe-Franze, Chief Information Officer of Mercer International and Marc’s nominator. “He’s been here for just 2 years and he’s managing this Google Workspace project, which is a huge change management project inside of Mercer.” When Christoph received the invitation to nominate a team member for the CIO Young Talent Award – hosted by the WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management and the CIO Magazine for over 10 years – the first person to come to mind was Marc. 

Because this highly-regarded award is incredibly competitive in Germany, the news of Marc’s win was that much more exciting. With it, Marc has earned a scholarship to WHU to complete his master’s through an international study program. “I had not thought about studying again,” Marc explains, “But I thought to myself, if I win this award, maybe it will be the right sign for the next step.”

With Mercer’s shift into cloud computing, there is a heavy focus on collaboration to best support the various departments in their daily processes. As this has been a big change in our way of thinking, it is up to us to be transparent in our needs to find solutions. Christoph believes that Marc’s work, and subsequent award, is a big incentive for young team members in Mercer. “We are looking for talent who challenges us as a leadership team,” Christoph says, “You do not need to be in a management position to make change happen.”

Watching change happen before him has been an interesting part of Marc’s journey as well. “If you ask me where will I stand in 5 years? I don’t know, but it’s nothing I want to plan. When it comes to growth and working in our different environments, there will be a role in the future for me. I am just happy to be here and looking forward to where it will take me.”

Find Marc and his fellow nominees here.

Jenna Strachan, Mercer Peace River – Pulp and Paper Canada Top 10 under 40

Jenna’s place on the 2022 Top 10 under 40 list with Pulp and Paper Canada (PPC) is a testament to the wealth of knowledge and perspectives in her role as Indigenous Relations Superintendent at Mercer Peace River (MPR). As a Métis woman locally born in the Peace Region, her passion and ability to seek innovative and mutually-beneficial solutions to build dynamic relationships have been paramount to bridging the gap between industry and community. “I am especially grateful for the Nations and community members who inform our work and our efforts to build a more sustainable future for us all,” Jenna says.

In MPR’s 30+ years of operation, building strong relationships with local communities and consulting with Indigenous peoples has been and continues to be a critical component of sustainable forest management. Forest management is not just the management of natural resources, but also understanding the values, concerns, and priorities of First Nation and Metis Settlement communities and ensuring these are meaningfully considered and addressed where possible, in the planning process. Through Jenna’s leadership, MPR’s relationships with the Indigenous communities within our Forest Management Area (FMA) have deepened and her guidance has expanded into our Western Canadian operations to build stronger understanding.

Jenna’s accomplishments in Mercer include:

  • Growing the Traditional Land Use Project, deepening relationships with Indigenous communities through collaborative information sharing and community-led information collection to aid MPR in management practices
  • Spearheading MPR’s commitment to the Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, holding ourselves accountable for continuous improvement within this area.
  • Providing easily accessible resources to promote learning and discussion around Indigenous history – specifically, on the Calls to Action for Truth and Reconciliation – to educate our teams and the communities where we operate.
  • Expanding her advocacy into the Mercer Celgar, Mercer Forestry Services, and Vancouver operations, prompting Mercer’s recognition of the Day of Truth & Reconciliation. In 2021, Mercer was one of two forest product companies to formally recognize the day as one of reflection and learning.

“It is an honour to be nominated by my incredibly talented colleagues here at Mercer Peace River,” Jenna shares, “There are many others who are very deserving of this recognition – I am humbled by the opportunity to support the great work that the team here is doing.”

Jenna’s passion shines through every project and her understanding of Indigenous peoples and history has provided our operation with a stronger knowledge base and appreciation. We are incredibly grateful and lucky to have such an enthusiastic and influential team member driving change for the better.

“It is a pleasure working with Jenna. Her energy, inclusiveness and dedication to advancing our company’s efforts regarding Indigenous relations are exceptional and are greatly appreciated. Well done Jenna!”

-Stefan Szabo, Woodlands Manager, Mercer Peace River

Find Jenna and the other Top 10 here.

The Team of Mercer’s Future

Marc and Jenna are just two of the many team members who are guiding Mercer to a collaborative and sustainable future. We are so proud of the work they have accomplished in their time since joining Mercer in our local operations of Peace River and Stendal. To watch their influence grow and to become known and respected in a number of our operations speaks to the growing network that is Mercer – an aspect that Christoph Grewe-Franze is excited about.

“You do not need to live in Vancouver or Toronto or in Berlin or Munich to work for a worldwide company. Our operations may not be where the ‘heartbeat’ is, but you are not obliged to live in a big centre. You can live locally but work globally. You define your own future within Mercer.”